Maintaining forward momentum - Team PebblePad continues to strive and thrive.

by Shane Sutherland


Maintaining forward momentum - Team PebblePad continues to strive and thrive.

~ The PebblePad Team ~

NOVEMBER 9th 2020· by Shane Sutherland



In our recent Bridging The Gap blog post (where we launched our Global Ambitions publication) Richard talked about what business as usual looked like at PebblePad. It occurs to me that what counts as usual for us, whether in the midst of a pandemic or not, is our commitment to three things: people, product and partnerships. In all three areas we have much to celebrate.

Despite our enforced absence from Pebble HQ we haven’t missed a beat on the innovation front. Just a quick peek at our PebbleVision Channel will vividly illustrate the power of those innovations in the hands of educators around the globe. Of course innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum - it is the result of really close work with our education partners. We’re justifiably proud of our reputation for listening, understanding and responding to the needs of our community, resulting in not just an ever improving platform, but also a legion of advocates willing to support and share with others their learning and experiences. Our recent Deep Dive webinar series and the stories of pedagogical trailblazing from our postponed PebbleBash 2020 conference, represent just a few examples of the brilliance of the growing PebblePad community.

Partnership isn’t analogous to preferred customer, it means working together for reciprocal benefit – and ultimately for the benefit of learners and learning. Being committed to our values and principles of partnership (detailed in the graphic below) is one of the reasons that the University of Leeds selected PebblePad to help it realise its big ambitions for learners and learning. You can read more about those ambitions here.

Image represents the values PebblePad uses as a basis for partnership success


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As illustrated in our 2020 Global Ambitions in Higher Education Paper, universities are trying to solve tough pedagogical challenges. We are more confident than ever that our Learning Journey Platform provides all of the tools an institution needs to support a much more experiential, process-based, learner- and learning-centric educational experience. 

Shane Sutherland, PebblePad CEO and Founder 

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Having briefly touched on product and partnerships I’ll return to my brief, and talk about people. Maybe you read in our Onwards and Upwards blog post about our brilliant (and expanding) product team? Perhaps you read about Jacqui and Jenny bolstering PebblePad Team Australia with yet more subject matter expertise. Maybe we should write a blog post about our ten amazing apprentice developers. What I will write about is how important our team is, how professional and productive they have been throughout the current crisis and the confidence that gives us for the future.

Most of our development workforce came to us straight from university – some came many moons ago; our apprentices are at various stages of their ongoing degrees. I suspect very few of our team studied how to cope with working from home in a pandemic and yet, somehow, a combination of their university experience and their time at PebblePad has equipped them to cope with unforeseen circumstances. They have demonstrated to a remarkable degree their ability to communicate remotely, to work collaboratively, to problem solve, to manage their time, to support others and to seek support when needed. Young leaders have emerged, old hands have stepped up, new ways of working have evolved – and we have thrived.

The success of our business is only partly the result of ‘knowing stuff’; to a much greater extent our success is due to knowing how, and why, and when, and with whom. Knowing when not to, knowing who to ask, knowing who to help. It is learning across contexts, across teams. It is learning from experience. Reflecting, revising, reviewing – and sharing. We are thriving and striving because we have the skills, aptitudes and attitudes that our education partners talked about in our 2017 Global Trends in Higher Education Publication. As illustrated in our 2020 Global Ambitions in Higher Education Paper, universities are facing some tough pedagogical challenges but we are confident that our Learning Journey Platform provides all of the tools an institution needs to support a much more experiential, process-based, learner- and learning-centric educational experience. We’re confident because an ever increasing community of institutions is doing ever more exciting work in PebblePad - across the institution and at scale. And we’re confident because we have a team that exemplifies what a great university education really looks like. 

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However the team we have isn’t quite big enough to keep up with the torrent of ideas inspired by our community and so, much like when I hit 15, we’re about to experience a growth spurt! We’re on the hunt for senior developers, test engineers, security experts and agile coaches to help turbo-boost our output – and to keep raising the bar on excellence in educational software.
And on a related note about growth, turbo-charging and excellence... almost everyone will now be aware of the major coup we executed in recruiting Kenny Nicholl to our ranks this September. I’m not going to say too much about Kenny because there’s another post hot on the heels of this one but mentioning him in a post about striving and thriving seems entirely apposite. 
Kenny shares our passion for beautifully crafted software, our commitment to our people and partners, and our vision for the learning journey platform. That he chose to bring his experience and expertise to our small but growing team gives me real confidence that we are taking PebblePad in exactly the right direction, and that our team – current and currently seeking – will help us accelerate our journey. If you're considering joining us on our journey, some of our recent publications (available below) will give you a flavour of what we're all about. 

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Image shows a snapshot of the PebblePad Learning Journey publication


Image shows a snapshot of the PebblePad Global Ambitions in Higher Education publication 


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CEO and founder of PebblePad, Shane has been a big presence in the world of portfolios and personal learning ever since the company's inception in 2004. It's not just his boundless enthusiasm and towering capacity for innovation that keeps PebblePad at the top of its game ... when you're 6' 10" having a list of great ideas 'as long as your arm' is somewhat of a competitive advantage!